Focal Passages: John 5:2-3a, 5-17
Jesus demonstrated his concern for those who are physically suffering when he healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus addressed the man’s physical need first (John 5:5-9a) and then addressed his spiritual need (John 5:14). We can follow the example of Jesus.
Reflect for a moment on whether or not you have ever experienced chronic pain or prolonged suffering. For some, it might be a history of migraines and for others it is the constant presence of arthritis.
We may try to identify with the suffering of the man in our Bible story, but like this writer, the majority of us would not have any idea of what it feels like to be an invalid for 38 years.
But, we do understand that when you are hurting, it is difficult to focus on anything other than the pain.
The man must have felt helpless as he could not get to the pool first to be healed. The point is not whether or not he would have been healed by the pool, but that he had no hope of it happening. And yet, he was there for a reason – for the Healer to meet him and provide physical and spiritual healing.
Jesus chose to help the lame man, even though it was the Sabbath. For you, the obstacle to helping the physically hurting might be something else. I am fortunate in that as a social worker at an outpatient clinic for children, I am daily around those who are suffering physically.
If I thought their physical suffering was all they could look forward to each day, it would be a depressing place to work.
But, instead, they often receive treatments that result in physical healing. As physical needs are met, I can explore issues such as how they are coping with their chronic illness.
We talk about the role of faith in their ability to cope. As physical needs are met, then spiritual needs can be met too. What opportunity do you have today to meet a physical need and then point someone to Jesus?